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Leap shares fall on weak revenue, customer losses

Shares of Leap Wireless International Inc. (Nasdaq: LEAP) fell Wednesday after the cellphone carrier reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and a net loss of subscribers.

The San Diego company posted a loss of $74.3 million, or 96 cents per share, compared with a loss of $84.4 million, or $1.10 per share, in the same quarter the year before.

Revenue fell about 1 percent to $756 million from $767.4 million, as service revenue fell 4 percent to $700.2 million.

Analysts, on average, expected a loss of $1.45 per share on $773.2 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Leap lost a net 337,035 customers during the quarter compared with the addition of a net 178,889 customers in the year-ago period. The company attributed the losses to the discontinuation of a prepaid wireless product and the scaling back of its national retail presence to fewer and more productive retailers and locations.

The company's Cricket brand lost a net 202,000 customers, as generally soft demand for prepaid cellphone services and higher average selling prices for the company's phones kept new customers from signing up and offsetting the service cancelations of others.

For the full year 2012, Leap posted a loss of $189.3 million, or $2.45 per share, compared with a loss of $314.6 million, or $4.11 per share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $3.14 billion from $3.07 billion.

Leap shares fell 42 cents, or 7 percent, to $5.70 in morning trading, after dropping as low as $5.60 earlier in the day. Over the past 52 weeks, Leap shares have traded between $4.28 and $11.29.

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